Cauliflower Pasta and Cheese al Forno

Cauliflower Pasta and Cheese al Forno

The other night I wanted to try a new recipe, and was jonesing for some cauliflower. My cousin shared a Cauliflower Mac n Cheese recipe from the My Fitness Pal blog. With a few minor modifications to the original recipe, I ended up with a delicious and healthy result that I highly suggest you make. If you love “mac and cheese”, I see no reason why you won’t love this even more!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets (about 3 cups)
  • 16 oz. gnocchi or other pasta (I used Rotini)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 6-8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add cauliflower and pasta. Cook until the pasta is done (if using gnocchi, they’re done when they float to the top).
  3. Drain the cauliflower and pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in garlic, seasoned with a pinch of salt. Cook until it begins to soften and becomes aromatic, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Whisk in flour, then slowly whisk in the milk. Bring sauce to a low boil to thicken. (Note: If it does not thicken enough, use an additional tablespoon of flour or some corn starch.)
  6. Stir in shredded cheese until melted. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Place pasta and cauliflower in a baking dish prepared with non-stick cooking spray, and mix in the cheese mixture.
  8. Top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with a pinch of thyme, if desired.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and topping is browned.

Notes

If you want to divide the recipe into individual portions (which I did), you can use individual ramekins rather than one big baking dish. This makes leftovers easier to take along w/o the need to individually portion it out of the larger dish after it’s been baked. Other than that, this recipe is pretty straight forward and easy to make. You can use whatever type of pasta you prefer, and even experiment with different (or additional) kinds of cheese, if the mood should strike you.

Bon Appétit!

 

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